Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too Hot

Almost too hot to knit. But I'm not letting it stop me. I am working on a new pair of socks for Jake. 2 days ago I was putting him down for a nap and he asked to put on socks. I told him it was too hot to wear socks. He cried for his handknit socks "a wons you make me mommy" It melted my heart but it was to hot to wear socks no matter how cute the request. I told him he could wear them another day but they were getting a little small. So he asked me to make him some more. I figured I'm not going to get a lot of years of requests for handknits so I am seizing the opportunity while it's here.
Other than the socks I have not really been working on anything. I still have some of my Rasputin roving on the wheel but I haven't touched that in several days.

Yesterday it was way hot - like 104 or thereabouts. Ick. I got smart and made dinner in the morning (boiled potatos and eggs for potato salad with sandwiches). I also have the house blacked out like it's WWII. It helps. It only got 89 in the house yesterday (we have a borrowed window a/c unit). I also bathed the kids in a cool bath before bed. In fact that was such a good idea Brian and I took a cold shower too (Yes together. No. It was too hot to even think about that- even in a cold shower, get your mind out of the gutter). That helped a bit. It stayed decently cool upstairs (a/c is upstairs) and I was able to put the kids to bed in their own room (I thought about sleeping on the floor up there because it was cooler than downstairs). Unfortunately the house only cooled off to about 80 last night so it might not be as cool in the house today even though it's supposed to not get as hot outside. I miss the rain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

8 Years

We have been married for 8 years today.
I love you more than ever Baby!

Quick fun project

I have been meaning to do this little project ever since I got my key chain sock blocker and I have finally found the perfect yellow to accomplish it.
First I spun up a small amount of yellow roving. These are tiny socks so you don't need much roving at all. I did the Navajo ply on the fly method so when I was done, I was done - no additional plying needed.
Then I just kept going with the black - you can cut them apart's just a lot easier when spinning such small amounts to do it this way (In fact the yellow is attached to the current project I have going on the spindle but I wanted to whip this out quick so I just stopped the roving and started the yellow). The reason I was able to do it that way is because of the Navajo ply.Here are the wee finished 'skeins.' I guess you can't see how tiny and cute they are since I didn't have anything in the photo for reference.Here is my finished sock. I call him Charlie Brown.
I just made it on the yarn too. I had plenty of black but here is what I have left of the yellow:That's about 8 or 9 inches. Glad I spun just that little bit more! Seriously the whole project took less than 2 hours and you don't have to set the twist in the yarn if you don't want to since the garment will not be worn.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How the #^&* do I block a tiny hat?

So as you all know I finished my Vine Lace Baby Hat for Abigail. I love it on her and she did get to wear it once before it got wwaaaaayyyy to hot for wool. But it still needed to be blocked. The delay was I couldn't figure out how. I have a little styrafoam head for blocking grown up size hats but I wasn't sure about the little heads. I saw Roxy at the Lamb's Ear and she had a brilliant idea - use a balloon. I thought, great I'll get some balloons and give it a try, however it later occured to me that this hat has little scallops that will need to be pulled into submission and that usually needs pins. Pins and balloons don't really mix. I decided it didn't really matter since it was too hot to wear and I could deal with it later. The next afternoon we were at the grocery store and I spotted melons and cantelope in all kinds of sizes and the light went off. So I measured Abby's head (yes I do carry a tape measure around, why do you ask?) and picked a melon that was close in size. So I was able to stick my pins in and now I'll have a snack for later.
She is a pretty cute little melon in that hat isn't she? Now I just need to wash the melon juice off of my pins and I am good to go. I have not put it on her to see how it looks since with the weather at this point I think that could be considered child endangerment.
Oh and have I mentioned my 8 month old is climbing the stairs now? She crawled for like 5 days before she was over it and wanted to stand. Once she figured that out (about a day, maybe 2) she wanted to go go go and started cruising along the furniture (time to lower the crib mattress). Now she is not only getting up to standing but wants to climb things - like the tv stand etc. The last few days the stairs were a fun thing for her when she could get to them (baby gates ususally up) She would get up a step and then slide back down but this morning I had one of those heart stopping moments - Abby was set down next to her brother to play I leave the room long enough to grab a grahm cracker (this takes less than 10 seconds) and Jakes says "Abby on a stairs" (she was no where near the stairs when I set her down). I run around the corner and sure enough, there she is, on the 4th step. A misstep at that height could be very dangerous for her little body. So I climbed up and sat behind her so she could continue to have her fun. She made it up 9 steps before turning around and reaching out for mommy. Needless to say the baby gates are up now no matter what.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Finished Yarn

Ok so yesterday while Jake was at Grandpa's house I finished up some spinning. First I finished plying the Rasputin roving that I had made samples from earlier this week and hanked it and set the twist. I got 188 yards in this first skein and I still have 2/3 of the roving left to spin. And it was really really fun to spin. I loved waiting for the colors to change and since they are short blips it was not an agonzing wait. Also It was totally fun to ply too since I got to see what colors would fall together. The yarn turned out to be sortof a mix between the two samples I made. It is still a 3 ply and the colors are more concentrated, but different colors came together a lot more like sample B did before. I am going to have a blast knitting with it! I have decided to call it Autumn Warmth (pretty fall colors and it's gonna keep me or someone I love warm).The other yarn I finished yesterday was not really 'work' per say as it was already spun and plyed and just waiting to be hanked up and set. I know anyone who spins would say I'm crazy, the work was already done and now you just have the last step! But I waited because this was the roving that Brian bought for me and I wanted him to like the yarn I made from it. I was torn between using it as is (a 2-ply) or making it into a chain ply. Anyway he said he didn't really like the look of a 4ply either so I decided to leave it as a 2 ply (I know it's not like I'm knitting something for him out of the purple yarn but still...). So anyway, here it is! I think I still have a little roving left over too. This one yeilded just shy of 650 yards and boy my arms are sore from wrapping it around my homemade niddy noddy some 380 times.

So today I think I have to deal with the laundry I ignored yesterday and take a few minutes to whip my kitchen back into shape.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


So while the babies slept yesterday I decided to pull my silk back out and give it a go again. Silk is kinda a pain in the butt to work with since it catches on everything. I thought I'd try a new way to wrangle it this time to see if it did me any good.
So here is my process:
1. This is a silk is made up of layers of individual whole silk cacoons that have been stretched one by one over a frame. Because it is the whole cacoon there will be both long and short fibers so don't expect a perfectly smooth yarn.2. Isolate ande peel off one layer.
3. Poke a hole in the middle.
4. Stretch.5. Keep stretching until it's fairly close to the diameter you want your single to be. In this case I am spinning it very fine so I went a long way with the stretching. With silk you want to keep your hands fairly far apart...8-12 inches I'd say, moving closer as neccesary. Also, the more you predraft the more luster your yarn will have. Oh and don't forget to soften up your hands with some lotion first or you'll think you'd just coated your hands in glue with the way silk clings.
6. Break the ring at some point. You can do this anywhere you want, if you have hankies that are dyed multiple colors, you may choose to always break at the same point in the colors to keep your pattern the same.7. Spin. I wrapped my silk around my papertowel holder. I thought it would be smooth enough to allow the silk to come away freely but it did snag quite a bit. Next time I think I will just pile it into a bowl and see how that works. Oh and because the staple length is so long you don't need a ton of twist it holds together really well.Here it is spun up on the spindle - There are about 4 cacoons already spun on there.I must say you do get a lot of bang for your buck with silk hankies. Plus you can get them cheaper if you buy them undyed and you can use kool-aid to dye them too.
Anyway, there you go, a mini tutorial on spinning silk hankies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drugged and House Stuff

So yesterday I finally went to see the doctor about my crazy itching...what I didn't tell ya'll that it came back and I just itch all day everyday? I guess cuz it is not nearly as bad as that first time...just a little itch on my arm, or leg, or back, or well, pretty much my whole body, but tolerable. I got sick of it and went on it (with two kids in tow, good thing I didn't have to get into a gown or something). Doc did a low tech scratch my skin with the back of his fingernail to see what my reaction was. It flamed up beyond what is normal so he said that I had some kind of Derma...something. Basically translates into "take these antihistimenes until it goes away because we don't know what it is." He gave me some office samples of a drug I had not yet heard of. Told me to take one once or twice a day...maybe half of one since I'm small...and at night because they can make you 'a little groggy.' I got home about 1pm (after the grocery store and taking my Sweetheart some lunch) and put Jake down for his nap. Then I discovered a message on my machine from an agent wanting to show the house between 1 and 2. Um...ok so now I have to bust ass to get the house in showing condition before 2. I called to tell her it was ok, but the end of her window was better for me. A guy answered...a coworker I guess...she had left her phone at the office. I kept cleaning anyway since I thought she might show about 2pm just as I was finishing getting the house all done and turning on the tv to sit down for a few I see them pull up. I told them they were welcome to look at the house as long as they were ok with me sitting in the living room with Abby and didn't mind that Jake was asleep in his bed. They were fine with that and just then Andrew arrived and chatted with me while they looked at the house. Everyone took off and I finally sat down to watch my show. I took one of my new pills and cut it in half...took the slightly bigger half. This was right around 3:30pm. Shortly after that I got a call from another agent wanting to show my house again to a client that had seen it a couple of months ago (I am thinking maybe a sale fell through...we were #2 on a lot of people's lists and maybe now we'll be #1). Yeah! two for the price of one cleaning! Good thing too since they wanted to come either now or in an hour or so (right in the middle of dinner). I told her now would be fine. Of course I didn't realize they were like right around the corner...they pulled up while 1. I had no shoes on. 2. Jacob was running around naked from the waist down and 3. there was still littlle boy pee in the toddler potty. Thank goodness she was standing outside finishing up a phone call it gave me time to take care of all of those things. We drove around the block and parked out of sight until they were done (well I could see the house but I don't think they could see me.) I started dinner shortly after we got back and kept thinking about how dissapointed I was that the medication had not done a darned thing for my itching and maybe I should have taken the whole pill. I decided to take it shortly before bed. Once dinner was done and overwith (about 6 - 6:30) I started to feel tired. Really tired. Like fall asleep on the couch tired. I don't know how long I slept but it was reminicent of the tired I felt when I was pregnant. The crappy thing is...I still itched. When I woke up I still felt very groggy. Brian said I looked I was high. And that really is the best description...I was having all of the side effects of being high (like on vicoden or percocet) but not the high feeling - just the tired heaviness. I slept very very hard last night and only slightly itch this morning. I think I am going to try Claratin (or whatever the generic version is) since this stuff does not seem to be worth the trouble (even if it was free). I might give it one more shot but I will wait until bed time to take it. Maybe that is why it doesn't stop the just knocks you out cold so you don't even know you itch (kinda like don't not feel just don't care about the pain).
So, here's to maybe getting an offer on the house and maybe the itching stops soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I finally pulled out my Rasputin pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms. I am very excited to spin it. I thought I would spin it as a 3 ply and divided it into 3 equal parts and had a bit leftover to do some test runs with. I split the test batch into 3's and spun one as a Navajo ply, the second I split by 3's againg and spun as a 3ply and the 3rd I am holding off on to see how thick I want my yarn to be.
So...Sample A is the Navajo ply and Sample be is the 3ply. A is on the Left and B is on the right: I think that sample B(right) is a a more interesting yarn but a little more muddled in the colors. I decided to knit them up. I made a couple of keychain socks...Again Sample A is on the left and Sample B is on the right. The colors are much more crisp in sample A and the color runs are shorter. Sample B has longer color runs and more gradual color changes it also turned out to be a more consistent yarn but I think I can remedy that in the Navajo ply if I slow down a bit. I had just a touch of yarn left in each to make small swatches (like 1.5 inch) to keep in my spinning notebook.A is on top and B is below. I think I know how I am going to spin it...what do you think?

Saturday, July 18, 2009


What we've been up to lately....
I mentioned we went up to Orcas for about a week and got to hang out with Grandma and Granddad...
Jake and Granddad ran the tractor:

Abby hung out on the couch:Jacob found his wings:but don't get me wrong the whole time he was 'flying' he kept saying "My an airplane Mommy!" and making appropriate airplane noises.

We spent some time in my Mom's amazing garden...Jake loved the shovel, the wheelbarrel and the rake but mostly he loved the peas, cherries and strawberries: I finished Abby's lace hat and just had to put it on her right away. Fortunately it was a cool enough day that I was not torturing my child for the sake of seeing if it fit.
My dad went fishing and came home with several fish that he smoked. Jake got to help him make the brine and was very very excited to do so.The fish was delicious too.
We have been home for a week now and I am finally getting my butt around to posting. I finished snakes for a friend's grandsons. They turned out great except I didn't end up embroidering eyes on them. I still think they look pretty sharp with their little tounges sticking out. I am really glad I got them done before my machine decided to break. The day after I finished the snakes I finally decided to get my stuff together and make a bear for Jacob since I hadn't yet done that. He came up and 'helped' me. After we got the pattern traced and cut out we sat down to sew only to find the machine only sewing in reverse. I couldn't figure it out. I thought it was probably the same problem Alexis had. So I thought it was a loose spring on the backwards button but I couldn't get the cover off. I was doomed to have to take it in to have the shop look at it...they look at it for free...if it needs to be fixed they charge 125 bucks. I took it in and she couldn't figure it out...sait it had to be sent in (damn it, I knew it)...aske if she could just show me how to take the cover off...she said she had no clue but her co-worker could often scare any machine into behaving. Said co-worker came and sat down at the machine. 5 seconds in she had my machine working...get this it was just on the wrong stitch setting. I guess that there is some limbo on the setting that if you put it in the right spot it sews backwards. This is probably intentional in the design of the machine but still was weird to me. It made sense that it was a minor problem as Jacob had confessed to messing with the machine when asked. But in the end it all worked out and I didn't have to pay and arm and a here is his bear in all of the Curious George and Firetrucks glory: Oh and on Wednesday I made a fabulous dinner. I knew I was totally in the mood for a roast so I grabbed one and coated it in coarse kosher salt and some dried minced garlic and some pepper. I baked that at 325 for about 2 hours. I also served mashed potatoes and best part was the Ratatouille Tart from the August 2009 issue of Cuisine at Home however I made a few changes. The recipe calls for zuccinni, yellow squash, red onion and red bell pepper. I used all of those but added eggplant. I also changed using goat cheese for using parmesean since none in my household, including myself, care for goat cheese. I am not familiar with the copyrights, etc. so please pick up a copy of the magazine for the recipe. I guess it would probably be ok to see me for my version of it too since I did make changes. Pretty huh?
Anyway it was one of those things that I thought would be just ok and Brian was sure he would hate (and really wanted to also since he thought he was getting one of his favorites - fried zuccinni as a veggie) but we it turned out to be really yummy. We will make it again for sure but do a couple of things differently. First I will use more basil than called for. Second I will layer the veggies a bit more densly and third I will use more olive oil. I enjoyed this very much and it reheated GREAT! I used the leftover slices of zuccinni, yellow squash, eggplant and red bell pepper at dinner the next night with our french dips (always follows a roast night...) by eggwashing them and coating them in breadcrumb and pan frying in a little olive oil. Sooo yummy!
Well, the babies need a bath. Until next time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick One

Just popping in for a quick post. I'll come back with a more detailed post later. Jacob, Abigail and I spent this last week up on Orcase Island visiting my family. We had a great time. While we were there Abby really took off on the crawling and by the day we got home she was already trying to stand up. She hasn't quite figured out pulling herself up on things yet, thank goodness...for now she is just getting up on her hands and feet and trying to stand up from there and it really pisses her off that she can't do it yet. I think she might be an early walker. Going to spend the day getting caught up on laundry and dishes. I want to spin or sew but I'll be good and do my chores first...bummer is that my sewing machine is only wants to sew in reverse. I am sure it's just a spring that needs to be replaced but I can't figure out how to get the machine casing off (and I am pretty handy with stuff like that). So I'll need take it in.
Anyway, that's all for now...again, I'll post later with funs stuff like pictures...